This week’s post relates to an interesting article about the utilization of social media within the tourism industry. The author provides a very thorough list of ways social media can be incorporated, but there are more opportunities for its use to benefit tourism. That author is Sarah Kessler and her article is “The Future of the Hotel Industry and Social Media” http://on.mash.to/ajZYcB. Her first point is ‘Extending Concierge Services’ and this involves a concierge Twitter feed to assist guests from their rooms or while they are on the go and even before they arrive. The second subheading is ‘On-Site Merchandising’ via specials and promos through location-based services like Facebook Places and Foursquare. Next is ‘Customer Service and Recovery’ via Facebook and Twitter, allowing them to be part of the ongoing conversation and win back disgruntled guests. Her fourth is ‘Last Minute Deals’ or using Twitter and Facebook to offer last-minute deals to fill rooms. The fifth is ’Facilitating Guest Communities,’ connecting guests and valuable customers. Last, but not least, is ‘Emphasizing Unique Properties,’ a way for smaller chains to get the word out.
Another article called “Geolocation Services: Find a Smartphone, Find a Customer” by Kermit Pattison http://nyti.ms/acDR3f gave me a fresh perspective on the former article’s points, prompting some additional ideas of my own. My additions are geared toward expanding the ’On-Site Merchandising’ section. In the geolocation article Pattison discusses how businesses use Foursquare to delve into the analytics of their customer base (gender, frequency of visits, who they check in with, etc.) and about offering special deals to help bolster non-peak hours. This brings me to other points the author, and the tourism industry could incorporate. For instance, how about instead of or in addition to offering last-minute deals via Facebook and Twitter they offer specials during non-peak seasons to people close by at that time or to guests for off-peak seasons when they stay at other times? Also, what about using mobile bar code scans to offer special deals? People can scan a bar code on a sign in their room or somewhere else on the premises and that could generate a special offer. What about offering deals and specials to frequent visitors via Foursquare? These are just a few ideas. One thing is for sure, there are many opportunities for tourism to effectively utilize social media and tourism needs social media.